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Monday, February 22, 2010 - 2:28pm

Officials Sue Over Yucca Mountain

Officials near Augusta are suing the federal government over the Obama administration's plan to abandon a planned storage site for the country's nuclear waste.

County councilmembers in Aiken, South Carolina, hope the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy will force federal officials to keep pursuing Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the permanent repository.

Councilmembers such as Sandy Haskell worry that nuclear waste will end up stored on-site -- indefinitely -- at power plants and federal entities across the U.S., such as the Savannah River Site near Augusta.

"I think it's much easier to secure one site than it is to secure hundreds of sites in case waste was to fall into the hands that may not be friendly to the United States, " says Haskell.

Electric companies that use nuclear reactors, and therefore their ratepayers, have paid billions of dollars into a trust fund for research and development of Yucca Mountain. The Georgia Public Service Commission recently voted to ask the federal government for $30 billion in refunds.

The Savannah River Site, located in Aiken County, processes nuclear materials.